The word got out years ago among 20-somethings that Cairns is top of the round-Australia itinerary, not only due to its easy access to the reef and rainforest but also because of excellent budget accommodation. So you’ll see a lot of backpackers around this tropical city.
At the other end of the scale, development in keeping with the region’s reputation as a magnet for tourists means accommodation options include modern self-catering apartments, medium-budget digs and first-class hotels and resorts.
Whatever your budget you will find something to suit with a huge choice of places to stay both in the city itself and at the beaches north of the city like Clifton, Kewarra and Palm Cove, and in the hinterland.
Our top picks
Shangri-la the Marina
Pier Point Road
A relaxed and refined hotel offering beautifully appointed rooms with private balconies and panoramic views, a high-tech fitness centre, sparkling outdoor pool, elegant waterfront restaurant and cosmopolitan lounge bar.
101 - 105 The Esplanade
A superb, contemporary hotel with apartment-style accommodation idyllically located along the Cairns Esplanade, within walking distance of restaurants, the casino, shopping and nightlife.
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
122 Lake Street
In the heart of Cairns, this multi-award-winning resort, set amid 2.5 hectares of tropical gardens, boasts the largest lagoon-style pool in the city centre, a swim-up bar and stylish modern rooms.
Pacific Hotel Cairns
43 The Esplanade
Overlooking Trinity Harbour, this hotel offers tastefully appointed rooms with balconies, a sunny pool deck and an Australian-Brazilian fusion barbecue restaurant set opposite the Reef Terminal.
Hot stone barbecue at Pacific Hotel Cairns. Picture: TEQ
Ibis Styles Cairns
Corner of Lake and Florence Streets
Discover this affordable hotel’s modern rooms, some equipped with a kitchenette or loft-style suite with a spa bath, where poolside terrace dining is conveniently set a short stroll from the Esplanade.